Religious Discrimination and Harassment


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Information about religious discrimination and what we can do to prevent it.

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Religious Discrimination and Harassment

  1. 1. Religious Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace Jeremy M. Lewis
  2. 2. Faith or Choice? <ul><li> </li></ul>
  3. 3. How is religion in the workplace defined? <ul><li>Includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief </li></ul><ul><li>Includes moral or ethical beliefs about what is right and wrong </li></ul>
  4. 4. What is Religious Discrimination? <ul><li>Treating individuals unfairly because of their: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Religious beliefs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Religious practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Request for accommodation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Often expressed by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Refusing to hire or promote an otherwise qualified applicant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Restricting someone to express their religious views </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Failure to accommodate an employee’s request </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. What is Religious Harassment? <ul><li>Hostility directed towards an employee because of their religious beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Statements expressing offensive religious opinions </li></ul><ul><li>Unwanted or offensive proselytizing </li></ul><ul><li>Jokes or pranks expressing religiously offensive ideas </li></ul>
  6. 6. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 <ul><li>Protects against religious discrimination and harassment </li></ul><ul><li>Requires employers to reasonably accommodate employee beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Includes all terms and conditions of employment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hiring </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Firing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Raises </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promotions </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Who does Title VII Protect? <ul><li>All employees of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>private employers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>State and local governments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Educational institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Private and Public employment agencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Labor organizations </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Exceptions to Title VII <ul><li>Religious Organizations and Institutions may </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Require employees to share religious beliefs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Terminate employees if they fail to conform or stray from religious principles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Undue Hardship </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accommodations that are deemed exceptionally difficult or costly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employers may deny individual accommodations based on emergency circumstances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Field of work is a major factor </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission <ul><li>Agency of the Federal Government </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible for investigating claims of job discrimination </li></ul><ul><li>Enforces reasonable </li></ul><ul><li>accommodation policies </li></ul><ul><li>Aims to prevent </li></ul><ul><li>discrimination before it </li></ul><ul><li>occurs </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and state and local fair employment practices agencies have documented a significant increase in the number of charges alleging workplace discrimination based on religion and/or national origin. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Title VII of the civil rights Act of 1964 <ul><li>When Title VII was originally passed, it prohibited employment discrimination based on religion, but didn’t define the term “religion.” </li></ul><ul><li>Language was added later stipulating that the “term religion includes aspects of religious observance and practices, as well as belief.” </li></ul>
  12. 13. Title VII (Cont’d) <ul><li>The EEOC has also defined religious practices by workers to “include moral or ethical beliefs about what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views.” </li></ul><ul><li>In determining whether an employee’s beliefs or practices qualify as “religious,” courts often will ask a series of questions to separate religious beliefs from an opinion or moral code that doesn’t fall under title VII’s protection. </li></ul>
  13. 14. HOW TO FILE A CHARGE OF DISCRIMINATION <ul><li>Collect, preserve any evidence </li></ul><ul><li>In the event you are fired or harassed on the job, unless you can produce documentation that can be presented in court that your mis-treatment was religious discrimination or harassment, you do not have a case. </li></ul><ul><li>If you are in a union, talk to your union represenative </li></ul><ul><li>Call the EEOC before the 300 day deadline </li></ul><ul><li>If it has been nearly 300 days since you were last harassed or discriminated against and you still have received no satisfaction through informal or corporate channels, call the nearest office of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and explain your situation to an investigator. </li></ul>
  14. 15. Summary
  15. 16. Questions???
  16. 17. References <ul><li>Freedom of Speech, Religious Harassment Law, and Religious Accommodation Law Eugene, Volokh* </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>